Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Outdream (10/10/10)

Last night I dreamed we were trapped
by protests in city hall.
Today I saw Brazil.

My earliest memory is a dream
of bureaucratic elves
shrink-wrapping my parents.

The best words I've ever written
were spoken to me in my dreams.

I am the world's greatest dreamer.

I am the world's greatest dreamer --
I defy anyone to challenge my supremacy.

I once dreamed a cigarette
that changed the whole world,
and so I took up smoking.

I dreamed God telling me
just what I wanted to hear.

You can never understand
how beautiful the colors are.

I dreamed every blade of grass
and every book in the library.
Yeah, I even dreamed that Borges story.

I dream an armor
that makes me the hero of every story.

I dream a vagina onto a penis,
and it doesn't mean anything.

I dreamed every episode
of Star Trek: The Next Generation,
including The Inner Light,
which broke your heart.

But I'm not dreaming you,
or you would be dreaming of me.

Obviously, I haven't posted in a while, and this one is a little uneven -- likely because I'm so out of practice.

The title for this came from the Scrabble dictionary, which lists a surprising number of verbs with the prefix out-, meaning 'to surpass in [verb]'. I kid you not, 'outbitch' is a word meaning 'to surpass in bitching'.

The original idea of the poem was the idea that dreams are so subjective, and so impossible to really compare or even relate to other people. So someone claiming to have 'better' dreams was a funny and absurd idea. I do dream very vividly, though, and some of the dreams in the poems really are mine, and really were eye-opening and ultra-significant... to me, at least.

My writing lately has been in this pattern of having to have a punchline at the end of each stanza, which I think is restrictive and unproductive, but hard to get away from. I think it sort of works here for the grand series of declarations and boasts.

This pattern also puts a lot of pressure on the end of the poem, which this one isn't living up to. The final two lines are definitely a work in progress. Some alternate versions are "Because you know my dreams/I know that you are in my reality", "I could dream you/and you wouldn't even know it", "If I were dreaming you/you would read this again." I'd like to bring it back to the idea of competition, and resolve that either by winning definitively or giving it up.

Part of my problem with longer poems like this one, is that they really take the emphasis away from the words, and move it toward the ideas. Why not just write an essay?

No comments: